Is Your Alcohol Intake Connected To Your Paycheck?

By May Wilkerson 03/16/16

A recent poll found that 78% of Americans with an annual household income of $75,000 or higher are likely to imbibe. 

Is Your Alcohol Intake Connected To Your Paycheck?
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Bottoms up, doctors, lawyers and Wall Street bankers!

People who earn the most money are the biggest drinkers, new research from the UK suggests. Almost one in five Brits who earn at least $57,000 a year are likely to drink alcohol at least five days a week, compared to just 8% of those who earn under $14,200, according to data published this week by the UK’s Office for National Statistics (ONS).

But though higher earners may be more likely to consume alcohol in a given day, they may be less likely to drink in excess. In the UK, regular drinkers tend to be between 25 and 64 years old, whereas binge drinkers (defined by the NIAAA as five or more drinks for men, or four or more for women over a two hour period) tend to be between 16 and 24 years old, according to the ONS.

Heavier drinkers in the UK, of any income bracket, also tend to be men: 77% of those who’d had any alcohol in the past week were male, the ONS found. Whereas lower income drinkers are more likely to be women: two-thirds of the regular drinkers in the lowest income bracket were female. In the U.S., 69% of men of any income level said they drink, compared with 59% of women, a 2015 Gallup poll found.

This link between booze consumed and dollars earned is not just a British phenomenon. In the U.S., about 78% of people with an annual household income of $75,000 or higher say they drink alcohol, compared with only 45% of those with an annual income of below $30,000, according to Gallup. The poll didn’t ask how many drinks were consumed per week. But it did find that, among those who drink alcohol, 47% of those with incomes of $75,000 or more had had at least one drink in the past 24 hours, compared with only 18% of those in households earning under $30,000.

In the U.S., more affluent drinkers also tend to opt for wine over beer, but only by a slight margin: 38% drink wine compared to 36% who prefer beer. Among medium earners, between $30,000 and $75,000 a year, beer is the most popular poison, Gallup found. And college grads tend to drink wine, whereas those with a high-school diploma or less prefer team beer.

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May Wilkerson is a writer, comic and Managing Editor @someecards. Co-host of the podcast Crazy; In Bed w/alyssalimp. She is also the top Google result for "insufferable lunatic." Follow this insufferable lunatic on Twitter.